Within the past couple of days, I have had the same conversations with a million different people. Working in retail, I run into my regular customers and customers I have never seen before just stopping in on their way back to where they are from. We had talked about how our days were, the debate and the election (puke), relationships, friendships, families, hardships and just some of them were a few “how are you doing lately?" and “I haven’t seen you in a while! Hope things are going good." Sometimes, I feel like the $11 I’m making an hour isn’t enough for the therapy sessions I hold on a daily basis. However, it isn’t about the money for me, (a little bit of it is, I do need to make a living) but it is the relationships I make with these people. The people who need a friend at that moment, even though it is not a lifelong friend, I am there when it counts when they need to vent. I have had customers who come into the store when they saw my car in the parking lot, crying, screaming, yelling, or just come in and sit on the couch while I sit behind the counter; I sit there and I listen or don’t listen if they aren’t saying anything and then they thank me and they leave.
I am one to wear my heart on my sleeve. My emotion shines through and if you know me well enough, you know when I am faking a smile and when I am genuinely upset or hurt. I was recently told by someone (not mentioning names) that they can tell when my days are particularly harder than the rest, that after years of watching me (not as creepy as it sounds) he can see the hurt in my body language, specifically in my eyes and smile. There is something about those days that dims the light inside of me. I was commended on my strength and the fact that even when I am hurting I smile and I try to help those around me, regardless of if I know them 5 minutes or 5 years. Lately things have been a lot harder than I had anticipated them to be. My relationship, as amazing as it is, has its rough patches (as does every relationship); work is killing me slowly; school is making my hair fall out; time feels like it is moving way too fast and I can't keep up; money is never there and I am constantly worried about how my bills will get paid; the people I care most about in the world are going through things way bigger than them and way harder than they should have to ever deal with; just to name a few.
Some people wonder how I get through everything, and my answer is this:
1. I deal with it day to day: there is no use looking ahead to other problems in life when you have something in front of you that could be dealt with now. There is no use looking into the next couple of weeks and having anxiety that there is so much coming up, and deadlines that seem unreachable when you can do things little by little.
2. Breathe: why hold yourself underwater when the surface is right there? Don’t let the anxieties of life get the best of you. It sounds a lot harder than it actually is, and you might be saying “yeah right Gab... that’s impossible.” well no, it’s not. Nothing is impossible. You are capable of doing everything and anything, you just have to believe in yourself.
3. Smile: “Smile though your heart is aching, smile when your heart is breaking” (Nat King Cole, thank you for being a lyrical genius). Smiling is proven to be contagious. When you smile the act of your muscles moving tricks your brain into thinking that you are happy and in fact, it releases mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Along with many other effects, smiling makes us attractive, and when you feel attractive you are genuinely happy.
4. Laughter: I personally feel like laughing is such an important part of life. Aside from the health factors of laughing, this too is contagious. My best friends make me laugh when I am down and even though I do still feel sad, the laughing helps and everything starts working itself out. Here’s a story: There was one day I was in class and I was just having a rough morning. I didn’t want to be there, I would have much rather stayed in my bed, under the covers and alone. I got up and I went to school anyway. That day turned out to be the best day. When I had gotten there my friend and I had found something to make the class laugh about, and even when everyone else stopped laughing we were laughing so hard that there was no noise coming from either one of us. People had to walk out of the class because they couldn’t stop laughing at us and we actually had ended the class early because the professor was laughing hard enough to the point where he could no longer teach us.
Moral: THE SMALL THINGS IN LIFE ARE THE THINGS THAT MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. Push through the hard times because there is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel. Trudge up that hill because the ride down is so much smoother once you get to the other side. Keep digging, you never know how close you are to greatness. Most importantly though, do what makes you happy. Once you stop trying to appease everyone around you, you’ll see that you had put yourself on the back burner and you were living to cater to everyone else instead treating yo self. Put yourself on top and do you boo boo.